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Walking a New Path

Where he was, who he was with, and the circumstances of the request all combined to help determine the path Jesus would take. Do we expect any less of Christ today? How open are you to surprises? Are you willing to take paths that Jesus is blazing and follow him as he hacks a way in the wilderness?

The Spirit of Christ walked a new path with Paul and brought the Gentiles into the body of Christ.

The Spirit of Christ walked a new path with Saint Francis and brought all of creation into the body of Christ.

The Spirit of Christ walked a new path with Martin Luther and turned the altar toward the people, who are the body of Christ.

The Spirit of Christ walked a new path with John Wesley and strolled out into the streets and [ … ]

Deeds vs. Relationship

Many believers push hard to accomplish good things for Christ. They could rightfully claim hard work and perseverance as their strengths. They could get credit for refusing to tolerate evil. They could receive commendation for enduring hardships without quitting or even growing weary.

If that describes you, you are to be applauded. Jesus is pleased with you.

I can say that on the authority of God’s Word, for the Lord Jesus, through his Spirit, commended the church at Ephesus for these very things (Revelation 2:1–3).

But you know where I’m going with this discussion because you know what Jesus added to his words of approval: “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first” (Revelation 2:4–5).

He says (if I [ … ]

Self-imposed Guilt

Some of us have an internal “guilt table” to determine how badly we should feel:

Falling asleep during the 6:00 P.M. news. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Sending store-bought cookies to school . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Forgetting to pick up child (first time). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Forgetting to pick up child (second time) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 342

If too many tasks and not enough time sounds like life at your house, the solution is as close as Sesame Street. Just practice [ … ]

God’s Arms

When we ignore our Father’s warnings, we forfeit the safety of His shore and plunge into the ocean of harm’s way: the undertow of over-commitment, the current of wrong choices, and the rising tide of moral danger. Perhaps that’s where you are right now. If so, there is hope. You only have to call out to God for help and He will pull you safely to shore. David cried out, “Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me” (Psalm 31:2) and “Reach down your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me from the mighty waters” (Psalm 144:7).

“But, Sharon,” you might say, “you don’t know how far I’ve fallen. You don’t know what a mess I’ve made of my life.”

You are right. I don’t [ … ]

Pleasure in Jesus

Imagine being able to enjoy what is most enjoyable with unbounded energy and passion forever. This is not now our experience. Three things stand in the way of our complete satisfaction in this world. One is that nothing has a personal worth great enough to meet the deepest longings of our hearts. Another is that we lack the strength to savor the best treasures to their maximum worth. And the third obstacle to complete satisfaction is that our joys here come to an end. Nothing lasts.

But if the aim of Jesus in John 17:26 comes true, all this will change. If God’s pleasure in the Son becomes our pleasure, then the object of our pleasure, Jesus, will be inexhaustible in personal worth. He will never become boring or disappointing or frustrating. No greater treasure can be conceived than the [ … ]

The Someday Syndrome

Someday. One day. When. If. Then it’s over. When are we going to wake up
and realize this is life?

This is your life, right here, right now. Wherever you’re reading this page, feeling whatever you’re feeling, facing whatever you’re experiencing, Someday is right now. We’ll always be tempted to resort to the Someday Syndrome, but this mind-set robs us. Someday, when whatever we’re looking for happens, then we’ll start living. When everything settles down someday, then we can savor life. But things won’t settle down. Once we attain what we think we want—more money, a less hectic schedule, the right job—we’ll soon realize that it doesn’t fulfill us, and we’ll begin looking for the next big thing.

God did not design us simply to stand by and watch life pass as we wonder why we aren’t more fulfilled. [ … ]

The God of Change

In the everyday circumstances of life, the best choice so often seems to be the new thing—new career, new job, new wife, new car, new home, new city, new start. But our concept of newness goes about as deep as that new car smell—persuasive and delightful, but how long does it last? Invariably, when we want new, we play around with the outside while the inside stays the same.

Yet the outside isn’t the problem.

God doesn’t make all things new by changing the outside. He wants to remake the substance of our lives. When God summons a soul, it’s not a one-time event; He calls us to something new every day. We get all excited about self-improvement, but God doesn’t really seem to be in the improvement business. He prefers to get to the core of the problem. He [ … ]

Joy: A Conscious Choice

“Rejoice always.” —1 Thessalonians 5:16 (ESV)

Wow. I began to contemplate the meaning of this verse, as it was clearly a directive from God. In my contemplations, I thought about the fact that a joyful heart and a joyful spirit are clearly important to God, and the word “joy” is mentioned throughout all the books of the Bible. I had always been a “happy” person and generally saw the rosy side of things, but joy is clearly different than happiness. It is not based on circumstances, but on the presence, hope, and promises of God. Even when it feels as if we are being crushed by earthly troubles, we can remain joyful. If we keep our focus on God, our spirit cannot be trampled. Joy is a state of mind and a state of being. It reflects a conscious choice [ … ]

Climbing Mount God

So—how do you scale something as majestic as Mount God? How do you get to know someone as big as Him?

Answer: a little at a time.

We don’t wake up one day to discover that we are really “tight” with God just because we want to be. Knowing God—like going up the Matterhorn—requires that we pay a price. And that we take a lot of small steps every day.

But the main thing is to take the first step. In the little book of James we find the promise, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” God has already made the first move, inviting you through His Son Jesus Christ to come as close as you want. But you have to respond, telling (and showing) God that you want to be His friend.

Excerpted from [ … ]

Character studies

Why study the girls (and guys) of the Bible? Because they help us understand God’s character. Through the fickleness of his people, he reveals his unchanging nature. Through their neediness, he demonstrates his compassion. Through their rash behavior, he exhibits his patience. Through their sinful choices, he shows us what mercy looks like. Through their bitter complaints, he proves his capacity to love the unlovable. Through their disloyalty, his faithfulness shines.

Excerpted from The Girl’s Still Got It by Liz Curtis Higgs

Daily Reflection:

What have you learned about God’s character from your studies of the individuals in God’s Word?

Bonus Video:

Watch Liz Curtis Higgs perform her "Righteous Ruth Rap"!